I AM CHRISTOPHER LEACH THE ARTIST. I started this blog so that I can share with everyone my vast collection of transport photographs showing a personal and nostalgic view of the industry with images that span some 45 years taking in the U.K and some of Europe. I have no darkroom and so rather than being the perfectionist after tidying them up I upload the images warts and all, and even those that won't scan squarely or are scratched. In a way it adds age and character. You are all free to download these for your personal use but please remember I still own them and you are not just free to use them without prior permission for any knd of publishing. Click on images to enlarge them and if you want to see more leave your comments or visit my website for the mother-site with galleries including those Buses & Girls: PICTUREWORLD

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

PTT AWB Bern: Ghosts of marques that once stood here

I went to school in Switzerland in the Sixties during what was for me at least was the heyday of the Swiss PTT in some ways my favourite bus company. Right next door to the school at chesieres-Villars and my classroom fuelling my interest were based two buses, an antiquated looking bonneted Saurer L4C and a much more modern and very powerful looking FBW C40U 'Haifisch'. But sadly for me there weren't really many more nearby, indeed there were just three isolated singly based smaller but similar bonneted Vallais-type Saurers also running down to the Rhone Valley below us off the mountain sides. As it was in reality a day's bike ride away, the fact that Sion with a reasonable allocation was just beyond those jagged white mountain peaks didn't make it seem much closer either. But apart from the holidays the post buses were my biggest interest at school. During boring lessons and prep I drew on the tables too and dreamt of one day finding them all but because they used mostly contractors (PAH) even searches of the map hid where the proper owned P-reg buses might run. Whenever we went on school trips by train every station we went through was observed lest it might just reveal a tantalising glimpse of something. Of course this not knowing made it more fascinating and the famous PTT was as different to a British bus company as an equally individualistic Switzerland was. Official posed photos were available but information about interesting bus stuff like the garages was not just rare I felt it was almost a state secret. Anyway when I wrote to the PTT they wrote back telling me it was confidential, but at least they sent me a big package of bus related material. When I went back in the Eighties I tried to retrace my steps, ask questions, fill in the gaps using my camera and imagination. From my photo from the Nineties as you can see by the empty tool spaces, marques like FBW had become just a memory at the once busy works at Bern where many of the properly trained driver mechanics were posted during the winter to completely service up to fifty of the 500 buses. At the time in some ways I thought I failed to find what I was looking for but looking back apart from seeing newer buses I still caught most of it including wonderful Saurers RH's and even a few classic FBW's before the PTT was split up and the once financial umbrella of the telecoms network sold off leaving the buses not just a different yellow but to a true fan never quite the same.

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